Leaders launch peace caravan to fight banditry in three North Rift counties

Baringo governor Benjamin Cheboi (left), Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto (partly hidden) and Tiaty MP Asman Kamama at Kabarnet airstrip on May 20, 2015 before boarding a helicopter to Turkana for the first day of series of peace meeting in the North Rift. PHOTO | CHEBOITE KIGEN | NATION MEDIA GROUP

What you need to know:

  • Governors Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Simon Kachapin (West Pokot) and Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo) are leading the campaign along with Turkana Senator John Munyes and his West Pokot counterpart John Lonyangapuo.
  • Several MPs, MCAs and religious leaders also joined a visit to various villages to preach peace when the campaign expected to take one week was launched on Monday.
  • The caravan came two weeks after a peace meeting between Turkana and Baringo leaders in Eldoret. It also came a fortnight after 54 people were killed in Nadome on the Turkana-East Pokot border.

Leaders from Baringo, Turkana and West Pokot counties have launched a peace caravan in one of their efforts to end insecurity in the region characterised by banditry and cattle rustling.

The leaders, who include 15 politicians, are expected to traverse the three counties with the rallying call being to stop gunfire that has claimed many lives over the years .

Governors Josphat Nanok (Turkana), Simon Kachapin (West Pokot) and Benjamin Cheboi (Baringo) are leading the campaign along with Turkana Senator John Munyes and his West Pokot counterpart John Lonyangapuo.

Several MPs, MCAs and religious leaders also joined a visit to various villages to preach peace when the campaign expected to take one week was launched on Monday.

The caravan came two weeks after a peace meeting between Turkana and Baringo leaders in Eldoret. It also came a fortnight after 54 people were killed in Nadome on the Turkana-East Pokot border.

The leaders who spoke at Nasal, Kacheliba Constituency on Tuesday before heading to Lorengkip, Turkana to reconcile Pokot and Turkana communities, said they started the peace caravan after talks with President Uhuru Kenyatta and his deputy William Ruto on how to end killings.

They termed banditry and cattle rustling as outdated cultures that have undermined development among the pastoral communities and urged locals to abandon them to embrace peace and education.

In what they referred to as ‘Boma Inn Declaration’, the leaders also recommended creation of a ministry that will be in charge of pastoral areas as one of the ways of finding a lasting solution to the menace.

Rift Valley regional commissioner Osaman Warfa said leaders will address two peace rallies every day and urged locals to avail themselves.

While at Lorengkipi in Turkana on Monday at the start of the caravan, the leaders said all guns must be registered. They also demanded that police reservists should be paid.

Parliamentary Committee on Administration and National Security Asman Kamama said: “The region is ready for a new phase that requires locals to abandon guns and take children to school.”

Governor Cheboi stressed the fact that peace is key for any sustainable development. “The region must be free from gunfire. Those who have been buying guns and bullets must now channel the money to education and business,” Mr Cheboi said.

“Cattle rustling has enormously contributed to poverty and has left more orphans and widows.”

Mr Kachapin urged members of the Turkana community to coexist with Pokots and share available resources. He noted that insecurity has undermined development in the region, the same sentiments host governor Mr Nanok echoed .

Loima MP Protus Akuja said they have also agreed that leaders will emphasise the fact that residents can live in any part of the region without caring about boundaries.

Kapenguria MP Samuel Moroto called for stern action against politicians who incite the people.

Baringo Senator Gideon Moi wants the government compensate families that have lost loved ones and property due to insecurity.

Over 27 primary schools in Baringo remain closed due to insecurity as 37,000 pupils stay home, a month since the start of the second term.

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